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Law paves way for doctor compassion but loss of malpractice proof

Generally, compassion is perceived as a positive quality for a person to have. If a patient is sick or injured, it can be reassuring for him to feel that his doctor actually cares about more than the condition but cares for the patient as well. 

With the forward movement of a legislative proposal in Pennsylvania, patients might find that their medical professionals will come off as more compassionate people in comparison to the past. Why? Doctors will have less of saying, "I'm sorry," if they make a mistake on a patient. 

What is being dubbed as the "I'm sorry" bill passed in the state Senate last week. Previous attempts at similar medical malpractice legislation in Pennsylvania have failed, and this attempt seems to be moving ahead with some steam behind it.

What would the enactment of the bill mean? Currently, what a doctor says when faced with a potential malpractice situation can be used against him if the involved patient files a lawsuit.

"I'm sorry" carries a sort of admittance of liability with it. Therefore, what might seem like an innocent, natural response to a patient's complaints or suffering can actually be used as a strong piece of evidence in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit.

If the bill passes, only what a defendant says once a malpractice lawsuit is filed could be used against him in the personal injury case. The legislation is more of a protection of medical professionals and would leave alleged victims of medical negligence with less evidence to support their cases, verbal evidence at least.

We will post an update when this matter develops further.

Source: Med City News, "Pa could be 37th state to have “I’m sorry” law as bill passes Senate, moves to House," Stephanie Baum, July 1, 2013

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